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Print 21 comment(s) - last by Purple WiFi.. on Dec 24 at 4:47 AM

You can find it under the name "_San_Francisco_Free_WiFi"

The tech-savvy city of San Francisco has deployed free public Wi-Fi along one of its busiest streets. 

The city teamed up with Ruckus Wireless to provide the new high-speed outdoor public Wi-Fi service, which runs along Market Street from the Embarcadero to the Castro. You can find it under the name "_San_Francisco_Free_WiFi".

The network is capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 Mbps both up and downstream, and it aims to make a very diverse crowd along Market more connected, including the financial district, Union Square (which is a tourist and shopping hotspot), offices for tech companies along mid-Market, and up to the trendy spots of Castro.

It will also be a great addition for those in low-income living around mid-market, who may not be able to afford Internet connection. 


Market Street, San Francisco. [SOURCE: Flickr]

San Francisco mounted Ruckus ZoneFlex 7782-S outdoor access points (APs) with gigabit fiber backbone connections on traffic poles along Market Street. These APs provide dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi, and about 55 of them have already been mounted in the city. The goal is to install 170 APs total. 

"Because San Francisco is at the world's epicenter of technology innovation and use, residents, visitors and even businesses now have a fundamental expectation for pervasive wireless connectivity," said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. "We have gone to great lengths to build the foundation to deliver on these expectations with the best Wi-Fi technology we could find right in our own backyard."

The Wi-Fi project started in July of this year, and San Francisco is paying $500,000 out of pocket for the Web-connected deployment. 

Source: PR Newswire



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Waste of money
By aurareturn on 12/17/2013 12:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm at Market Street right now and I don't see the connection.

This is a waste of money. First of all, no one poor is living on Market St. Second, all carriers provide super fast LTE on this street. Third, there are Starbucks and other cafes at every corner that has Wifi. Fourth, no business is going to rely on free wifi to operate.

$500k for this? This is so wasteful.




RE: Waste of money
By ClownPuncher on 12/17/2013 1:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
My town also has free wifi. It's pretty much garbage. So many little shops, restaurants and coffee places already had much better wifi and it costs me a whole 0$ in taxes.


RE: Waste of money
By tng on 12/17/2013 2:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
On a trip to Japan this year I found that there were a couple of competing WiFi companies (Softbank/DoCoMo) that I could pick up with my phone there. However I think that without a Japanese Character set there was no way I could log into one of them.

I agree that this is not what municipalities should be spending money on, as you have said, there are plenty of places that for the price of a pastry, you can use theirs all day for free, and it costs the taxpayer nothing.

I would be ticked off if I had to foot the bill for all that and I never went to that area...


RE: Waste of money
By boeush on 12/17/2013 4:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
there are plenty of places that for the price of a pastry, you can use theirs all day for free, and it costs the taxpayer nothing
Except, of course, nothing is really free, and the price of that 'free' WiFi is included in the price you paid for your pastry (or cup of coffee, or whatever.)
quote:
I would be ticked off if I had to foot the bill for all that and I never went to that area...
I think some consideration of proportionality is in order here. $500,000 out of a yearly budget of $7.9 Billion -- that's 0.000063 of the total budget, or in other words, if you were an average SF taxpayer, about .0063% of your taxes went toward this "outrage". Sounds ridiculous to me... but not in the way you meant it...


RE: Waste of money
By ClownPuncher on 12/17/2013 4:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but one action is voluntary, the other is not.

The percentage matters little in the debate. Is it a waste of money or not?


RE: Waste of money
By boeush on 12/17/2013 9:06:45 PM , Rating: 2
Whether the money is wasted or not, depends on whether the city gets value out of the money spent. For instance, if this improves or even just maintains SF's image with techies and tourists, the city benefits. Those benefits may be intangible (hard to quantify), but they are benefits nonetheless. Similarly, if local businesses benefit from more traffic due to the public WiFi, then all city residents indirectly benefit, as does the city itself (via increased economic activity, and hence increased tax collection.)

As for voluntary vs. not, all tax collection is involuntary. Once your tax money is collected, it's no longer in your pocket regardless of how it is subsequently allocated. Whether you directly benefit or not is a poor criterion: for instance you may never personally use a city-funded homeless shelter, but your quality of life is nonetheless indirectly better because that shelter exists.


RE: Waste of money
By ClownPuncher on 12/18/2013 11:15:52 AM , Rating: 2
Unless your theoreticals turn out to be false, as is true in my city.


RE: Waste of money
By boeush on 12/18/2013 4:38:22 PM , Rating: 2
You can never fail, by never trying. But that's not the right strategy if you desire to grow.

If this doesn't work out and proves to be truly useless, the city can always take down the free WiFi network. It's not as if this tiny experiment is going to blow the city's budget...


RE: Waste of money
By tng on 12/18/2013 10:23:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
...$500,000 out of a yearly budget of $7.9 Billion -- that's 0.000063 of the total budget...
So the outrage is "ridiculous" just because it is such an insignificant amount in your mind?

You are obviously a SF or nearby resident since you really don't think this type of thing through. The whole point is that yes this is small, but, 1)Why should the City of SF be providing this service, and 2)What about the hundreds of other programs that use an "insignificant" part of the budget?

You don't equate your attitude to the debt that CA is in right now? Or the Federal Government debt? Thousands of programs that cost just "pennies" are bleeding everybody dry and each probably has someone like you saying how cheap it is, along with some vocal advocacy group that wants it because it benefits them.


RE: Waste of money
By boeush on 12/18/2013 4:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
You need urgent application of a clue-by-four.

1) the city of SF will provide any service it wants, because such is its prerogative; it will repeatedly try (and often fail) to improve itself through these various experiments, but on occasion it will succeed. 2) to gauge the impact on the budget, you actually have to look at the budget.
quote:
You don't equate your attitude to the debt that CA is in right now?
CA is not in much debt at all (right now it's 20% of CA's 'GDP' and falling: http://www.usdebtclock.org/state-debt-clocks/state... ), and the annual deficits it's ran recently were a result of the housing bubble collapsing and thus the tax revenues rapidly dropping (while the budgets remained tied up via constitutional amendments and contractual obligations, and thus could not adjust rapidly enough to compensate.) Remember, CA was one of the worst-affected states together with FL and NV. Currently, CA's budget is balanced and the state is on track to eliminate its debt within the next 3-4 years: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/27/californ...
quote:
Or the Federal Government debt? Thousands of programs that cost just "pennies" are bleeding everybody dry...
You've never seen the Federal budget, have you. Here, take a look (a bird's eye view):

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=1258

Defense: 19%
Social Security: 22%
Medicare/Medicaid/CHIP: 21%
Interest on debt: 6%
Federal retiree & veteran benefits: 7%

Those are the big-ticket items, and together they amount to 75% of the entire budget. So you want to talk about micro-programs "bleeding everybody dry", while ignoring 75% of the elephant in the room, and you are NOT trying to be a clown? Hmmmmm.......


RE: Waste of money
By tng on 12/20/2013 1:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Currently, CA's budget is balanced and the state is on track to eliminate its debt within the next 3-4 years
Wow, you really think that is true? LOL, I was going to dissect your argument rationally, but after I read that, I'm done.


RE: Waste of money
By boeush on 12/23/2013 6:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wow, you really think that is true?
I think? That Reuters write-up I linked is exactly 6 paragraphs long (and rather short paragraphs, at that...)
quote:
I was going to dissect your argument rationally, but after I read that, I'm done.
If you can't be bothered to even scan through such a short blurb, then your brain is considerably past well-"done"... and past any hope of "rational" discourse, as well.


RE: Waste of money
By boeush on 12/17/2013 4:22:49 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I'm at Market Street right now and I don't see the connection.
Maybe because they haven't yet finished installing all the planned APs?
quote:
all carriers provide super fast LTE on this street
But that would imply that all people in SF are on LTE data plans... wait, they're not? Shocker!
quote:
there are Starbucks and other cafes at every corner that has Wifi
One is complementary with the other, and what if you wanted to use WiFi while riding a bus, or when otherwise NOT in a cafe?
quote:
no business is going to rely on free wifi to operate
I think you have it backwards: consumers will rely on free WiFi, whereas local businesses will likely benefit from additional consumers (and/or additional advertising/marketing opportunities).


RE: Waste of money
By ClownPuncher on 12/17/13, Rating: 0
RE: Waste of money
By tng on 12/20/2013 1:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
You think? LOL he is beyond hope and probably lives there and thinks it is the greatest place on Earth, so he never goes anywhere else.


WooHoo!
By Wiggim on 12/17/2013 4:47:54 PM , Rating: 2
There have got to be a sea of hackers out there excited about the notion of so many people doing wireless banking on open WiFi connections.




RE: WooHoo!
By boeush on 12/17/2013 9:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Except any banking app/website worth doing business with, conducts all of its business over TLS -- so it doesn't matter if hackers snoop on the traffic: all they'll get will be encrypted gibberish (this is really no different from hackers snooping on Ethernet networks...)


RE: WooHoo!
By Wiggim on 12/18/2013 10:53:28 AM , Rating: 2
I think about everyone knows that man-in-the-middle attacks on TLS have been shown to be doable because of certificate authority weakness.


RE: WooHoo!
By boeush on 12/18/2013 4:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
Which would explain why the NSA had to resort to a slew of datacenter infiltrations and software stack backdoors instead of directly snooping on TLS traffic.

Oh wait, that doesn't make any sense...


stolen phones
By Souka on 12/17/2013 5:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this the same Market Street where stolen iPhone (and other smartphones) end up?

I seem to recall an article here on Dailytech about that.

Anyhow.....




Free Outdoor WiFi
By Purple WiFi on 12/24/2013 4:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
The Ruckus outdoor access points are very good. A wise choice for San Fransisco to use them for their free WiFi project. Low income homes will be able to greatly benefit from free access to the web, which is certainly a good thing.




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